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Loyzaga realistic on baseball’s Olympic chances

Chito Loyzaga believes Philippine baseball has to do well in Asia first before targeting an Olympic stint.(Photograph Courtesy of Len Escollante)

With baseball being included in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association wants to keep its feet planted on the ground.

Philippine Amateur Baseball Association president Chito Loyzaga told Daily Tribune that right now, their focus is currently on the 2026 Asian Games in Japan.

Apart from baseball and softball, the International Olympic Council also added squash, flag football, lacrosse and cricket in the biggest multi-sport event in the world.

“I’m just planning for the 2026 Asian Games. That’s what we need to prepare first. If we can have a good showing there, maybe we have a chance but if not, then nothing will happen,” Loyzaga said in a phone conversation.

Loyzaga, the son of FIBA Hall of Fame member Caloy Loyzaga, also pointed out that the Philippines will have to pull off upsets against South Korea, Chinese Taipei and Japan, the top three finishers of the 19th Asiad, in tournaments to vie for a slot in the Summer Games.

Only two Asian countries, Japan and Korea, participated in the Tokyo Olympics with the Japanese eventually winning it all.

“For me, I would prefer if we focus on the Asian Games. That’s our Olympics because as you already know, once you play in the Asian Games, the top three countries are in the top five in the world, which is Japan, Korea and Chinese Taipei,” Loyzaga said.

The Philippines finished the 19th Asiad in Hangzhou, China at fifth place with a 3-2 win-loss record.

Loyzaga said improving the facilities and a longer time to prepare is needed if the Philippines wishes to go toe-to-toe with the best countries in the Olympics.

“I’m not downplaying the Filipinos’ capabilities. As much as possible, I want to bring the Philippines there but it will take us more than five years if we want to join,” Loyzaga said.

“The number one challenge is that we don’t even have our official international standard venue in the Philippines. How can we improve if we don’t even have a playing field that would be up to standard?”

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